Resident Hall to Renting: A Guide to Signing Your First Lease

You have been in school a little over a month and feel settled. There are a few people, possibly your current roommate, who you consider to be your close friends. You eat, study, and go to Badger football games together. Your friends begin discussing living together next year, and property management companies are pushing hard to rent their dwellings. A lot of students make a hasty decision to sign a lease by early November. They feel pressure to secure a rental property before all the “good ones” are gone, and they commit to living with people they may have only known for a couple of months.

My advice: DON’T DO IT.

The reality is signing a lease early really only benefits the property owners. I feel it is better to wait until at least winter break or longer to make living arrangements for the following school year. Often, you can negotiate a better price for apartments that are still available in the spring.
What matters is finding people that you want to live with, it is ultimately the most important thing. If you enjoy the people you live with, any place can be fun.

There are many great places in prime locations that will still be available come January or February. If you find a property that you love, but it is already rented, plan to live there the following year. Then you will know who you want to live with and you will be prepared to sign early.

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